Motorcycle riders are considered vulnerable roadway users since they are highly prone to serious injury in the event of an accident. A motorcycle accident can completely and permanently alter your life, and can even be fatal.
Such an accident can leave you with catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries that not only require extensive and long-term treatment, but can also inhibit your ability to lead a normal life and perform any meaningful work.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you need to contact an experienced Fullerton motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to help you get started on your compensation claim.
At Crockett Law, we are committed to helping motorcycle accident victims like you get the compensation that they deserve. We have an in-depth understanding of California’s motorcycle laws and a proven track record of securing favorable settlements and verdicts for our clients. Call a Fullerton personal injury lawyer today at (800) 900-9393 to schedule your free consultation.
How Can a Fullerton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help With My Compensation Claim?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when looking to file a personal injury claim is the fact that the insurance company doesn’t have your best interests at heart, regardless of how friendly the claim adjuster may seem. They are businesses after all, and they will protect their bottom line at all costs.
Their main focus is to ensure that they pay the least amount of compensation or no compensation at all. To ensure this, they are usually armed with a team who are prepared to do everything in their power devalue your claim.
With this in mind, the best thing you can do for yourself is to have your own attorney. An experienced attorney will give you a better fighting chance and maximize your level of compensation. Here’s how a Fullerton motorcycle accident lawyer can help your claim:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into your case to determine who’s at fault for the accident
- Advice you on whether you have a valid case and the best course of action
- Gather relevant pieces of evidence to support your claims
- Ensure that your claim is filed properly and within the set deadlines
- Handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf
- Preparing your case for trial and offering legal representation in court, if negotiations don’t work.
When you have an attorney on your side, you are assured of the best chances of success in your case. A Fullerton motorcycle accident lawyer will significantly help to ease your burden and allow you to focus on your recovery.
What are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Ideally, most motorcycle accidents and the resulting devastation they cause to the lives of the victims are completely avoidable. However, the sad fact is that it is almost impossible to expect every road user to obey traffic rules, and as a result, motorcycle accidents are quite common.
Here is a brief look at the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
Distracted driving is a very common issue on our roads today. Many drivers tend to engage in a lot of other activities while behind the wheel besides driving. These include texting, fiddling with the radio, looking at billboards and roadside objects, chatting with passengers, and so on. This makes it harder for them to notice something as small as a motorcycle on the road, which can cause them to accidentally hit them.
Failure to Pay Attention to Motorcycles
Motorcycles have a right to use the road just like other motorists. However, some motorists seem to ignore or disregard the rights of motorcyclists and pay no attention to them because of their size. This increases the risk of the motorist hitting a motorcyclist.
Drunk Driving or Drugged Driving
It should go without saying that drunk driving is very dangerous. It limits one’s ability to make sane judgments and safely operate a vehicle. A drunk driver puts all other road users at serious risk of injury and death. Besides drunk drivers, some motorcycle riders also choose to hop onto their bikes while intoxicated. Maintaining balance on a two-wheeled vehicle and safely operating it while drunk is even more difficult.
Faulty Mirrors, Brakes or Lighting
Brakes, lights, and mirrors play a very crucial role in ensuring safe driving. If either of these isn’t functioning properly, they can increase the risk of causing an accident. For example, malfunctioning lights make it harder to see and be seen at night or in unfavorable weather conditions.
Unexpected Pedestrians in the Road
Small children, drunk pedestrians, and even animals may unexpectedly make a dash for the road and find themselves in the path of a moving motorcycle. Our Fullerton motorcycle accident attorneys will conduct an in-depth investigation into your accident to determine what exactly caused the accident and gather evidence to prove the other party’s fault.
What Are Some Motorcycle Accident Statistics?
According to the most recent data from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in 2019 in the United States. Of these, 474 fatalities occurred in the state of California. It is reported that of those killed, 451 motorcyclists had a BAC above 0.01. 437 of the motorcyclists killed in 2019 were wearing a helmet. Motorcyclists aged between 20 and 29 accounted for the most fatalities in 2018 and 2019.
What Are the Motorcycle-Specific Laws in California?
As a motorcyclist, you are required to obey all the traffic laws. However, there are certain motorcycle laws that are unique to motorcyclists in the state of California. These include:
Motorcyclists who are 21 years or above must have a California driver’s license and complete a DL 44 form. They also need to pass a written and vision test.
Any motorcyclist operating on California roads is required to wear a helmet. This also goes for their passengers. Additionally, these helmets should be up to the Department of Transportation’s standards.
All motorcyclists in the state of California are required to carry minimum liability insurance. It is the same as that of vehicles in California:
- $15,000 for a person’s bodily injury
- $30,000 for victims’ bodily injury
- $5,000 for property damage
California state law requires that all motorcycles have footrests and seats that can be fastened securely. Passengers are required to always have their feet on the footrests whenever the motorcycle is on the move. The state of California doesn’t have laws in regards to restrictions on the age of the passengers.
While lane splitting is allowed in California, motorcyclists should only do so in a safe and prudent matter.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Motorcycle Accidents?
A motorcycle accident can leave the victim with all kinds of injuries. Unlike other motorists, motorcycle riders have very little physical protection against impact. Here are some of the most common types of injuries experienced in motorcycle accidents:
The force and impact absorbed by the body during a motorcycle accident can lead to fractured bones in various parts of the body including the ribs, hands, legs, and feet.
Road rash is a type of burn injury experienced by motorcyclists when they fall off their bikes. It is caused by friction when the body comes into contact with and scraps against the road surface. This can lead to permanent scarring.
Head and Brain Injuries
These types of injuries are not only catastrophic but can also be fatal. Suffering a TBI can have a tremendous and long-lasting impact on your life (both personal and professional). Victims can experience symptoms like headaches, memory loss, loss of certain job skills, and so on.
Spinal Cord Injuries
This is another type of catastrophic injury commonly experienced by motorcycle riders involved in motorcycle accidents. After being thrown off your bike, you may end up hitting an object with high force causing severe damage to your spine. This type of injury may require extensive and long-term therapy and can lead to paralysis.
How is Fault Determined in a Fullerton Motorcycle Accident?
For the other party to be held liable for your injuries and subsequent losses, you must be able to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. All road users are required to obey traffic laws in order to ensure their safety and that of others.
- The defendant breached their duty of care. Perhaps the driver was driving while distracted, was overspeeding, or was drunk at the time of the accident.
- Causation. Your injuries were a direct result of the driver’s negligent or reckless behavior.
- You suffered real damages as a result of the accident.
Keep in mind that the state of California follows the pure comparative fault doctrine. This means that you can still seek compensation for your losses even if you are 99% at fault for the accident.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for My Motorcycle Accident?
There are three main types of damages that you can recover in a successful Fullerton motorcycle accident. These include:
These are verifiable damages that can be assigned a dollar value. They are financial in nature, and they include medical bills, lost wages, motorcycle repair/replacement costs, loss of earning capacity, etc.
These are also known as general damages. They are the types of damages that can’t be assigned a monetary value. They include pain and suffering, lost companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and so on.
Punitive damages are not awarded in all personal injury cases. They are meant to punish the wrongdoer for reckless, malicious, intentional, or grossly negligent actions that cause harm. California doesn’t have a cap on punitive damages.
We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to secure maximum compensation in your case. We will gather all the relevant evidence to prove all the damages that you’ve suffered as a result of the accident.
Why Was My Motorcycle Accident Claim Denied?
While it is their job, the last thing any insurance willingly wants to do is to pay out a fair amount of compensation to accident victims. They will go out of their way to ensure that they pay as little as possible or nothing at all. They will conduct their own thorough investigation to try and find any sufficient reason to deny your claim.
Here are some of the reasons your claim may be denied:
Policy was Canceled or Lapsed
With how busy our lives are nowadays, it can be easy to forget all about your insurance policies, especially the renewal date. It is always important to ensure that your policy payments are up to date. If your policy had expired at the time of the accident, then the insurance company has a right to deny your claim.
The Driver was Not Insured Under the Policy
If the policy available doesn’t cover the type of damages sustained, then your claim may be denied. Your claim may also be denied if the amount under the policy isn’t enough to cover your damages.
They Believe the Accident was Your Fault
After their investigations, the insurance company may argue that your own negligence led to the accident and thus deny your claim. However, an experienced attorney will obtain all the necessary evidence including dashcam footage, eyewitness statements, police reports, accident reconstruction expert report, and others to prove your innocence.
They Don’t Believe You were Really Hurt
This often occurs when accident victims delay or fail to seek medical treatment early enough after the accident. They may argue that weren’t hurt or that your injuries weren’t as serious as you claim. To avoid this, it is always important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.
They Don’t Think the Accident is What Caused Your Injuries
As noted earlier, for you to have a successful claim, there needs to be a causal connection between the accident and your injuries. In most cases, if you have a pre-exisiting injury, the insurance company may try to use this to claim that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident.
Are There Time Limits to Filing a Claim in California?
The statute of limitations in California for motorcycle accident claims is two years from the date of injury. This means that if this time lapses, you will be barred from seeking compensation. So, it is crucial that you take action early enough.
An Experienced Fullerton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help!
Motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence on California roads. Victims are often left with severe injuries requiring costly and long-term medical treatment. If your accident was caused by a negligent or reckless driver, California state law provides your right to pursue compensation from the negligent driver.
However, getting this compensation is not always easy. There are many aspects of the law that can make the process difficult and not to mention resistance from the insurance companies.
To make the process much easier for you and to ensure the best outcome in your case, it is crucial that you seek the expert help of a Fullerton motorcycle accident lawyer. At Crockett Law Firm, we have years of experience helping motorcycle accident victims get the justice and financial compensation that they deserve.
Remember, we work on a contingency basis meaning that you don’t have to pay us until we win your case. Call us today at (800) 900-9393 to schedule your free consultation.